Some NFL players kneel during national anthem again despite Trump call for protest to end

Oct 1 (Reuters) - Several dozen NFL players, fewer than last week, chose to sit or kneel during the U.S. national anthem at the start of games on Sunday, a day after President Donald Trump again demanded an end to a protest he sees as a sign of disrespect for the flag.

The symbolic gesture, initiated last year by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, snowballed last week following calls by Trump for team owners to fire athletes who sat out the anthem.

SEE EARLIER: Trump says 'very important' NFL players stand for national anthem Sunday

On Sunday, more than 40 players, many of them on the 49ers, sat or knelt on one knee during renditions of the "Star-Spangled Banner" in the 15 National Football League games, compared with 180 players in all 16 games a week earlier.

Some African-American players have adopted the practice of kneeling during the anthem to protest against police treatment of racial minorities.

Critics including Trump object to any protest, regardless of its merits, during a ceremony meant to honor the flag and military veterans.

Some 30 members of the 49ers knelt before a game in Arizona on Sunday, and their general manager and chief executive stood behind them, The Mercury News in the San Francisco Bay area reported.

In Seattle, several members of the Seahawks sat out the national anthem, while their opponents, the Indianapolis Colts, linked arms along the sidelines.


NFL Week 4: How players protested during the national anthem

26 PHOTOS
NFL Week 4: How players protested during the national anthem
See Gallery
NFL Week 4: How players protested during the national anthem
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 Miami Dolphins players kneel during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 Miami Dolphins players kneel during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 New Orleans Saints players kneel before the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 New Orleans Saints players during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 Miami Dolphins players during the U.S. national anthem before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
Sep 28, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Chicago Bears players kneel in the end zone prior to their game the Green Bay Packers against before the national anthem at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Fans hold up an American flag during national anthem prior to the game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; The Green Bay Packers link arms during the national anthem prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2017; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18), quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12), tight end Richard Rodgers (82) and wide receiver Davante Adams (17) link arms during the National Anthem prior to their game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars players stand during the national anthem before their NFL football game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S. October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Jacksonville Jaguars players kneel before the national anthem before their NFL football game against the New York Jets in East Rutherford, New Jersey, U.S. October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Oct 1, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Lions linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (44) and linebacker Steve Longa (54) kneel during the national anthem before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Members of the Cleveland Browns raise their fists during the national anthem before the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Rams linebacker Robert Quinn (94) raises his fist during the national anthem against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Rams linebacker Robert Quinn (94) raises his fist during the national anthem against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
NFL Football - Miami Dolphins vs New Orleans Saints - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 1, 2017 New Orleans Saints players take the knee before the start of the national anthem Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs
Oct 1, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The New England Patriots players stand together for the U.S. National Anthem before their NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Foxborough, Massachusetts, U.S., October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
The New England Patriots players stand together for the U.S. National Anthem before their NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Foxborough, Massachusetts, U.S., October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 01: The Pittsburgh Steelers stand on the field during the National Anthem on October 1, 2017, at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Oct 1, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the National Anthem prior to a game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the National Anthem prior to a game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) and free safety Darian Stewart (26) react along with teammates during the American national anthem before a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) and free safety Darian Stewart (26) and cornerback Aqib Talib (21) and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (25) react along with teammates during the American national anthem before a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Buffalo Bills players shown during the National Anthem prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

USA-TRUMP/NFL (UPDATE 3, PIX)

UPDATE 3-Some NFL players kneel during U.S. anthem again despite Trump call for protest to end

(Updates with Sunday evening game)

By Christian Radnedge and Bernie Woodall

Oct 1 (Reuters) - Several dozen NFL players, fewer than last week, chose to sit or kneel during the U.S. national anthem at the start of games on Sunday, a day after President Donald Trump again demanded an end to a protest he sees as a sign of disrespect for the flag.

The symbolic gesture, initiated last year by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, snowballed last week following calls by Trump for team owners to fire athletes who sat out the anthem.

On Sunday, more than 40 players, many of them on the 49ers, sat or knelt on one knee during renditions of the "Star-Spangled Banner" in the 15 National Football League games, compared with 180 players in all 16 games a week earlier.

Some African-American players have adopted the practice of kneeling during the anthem to protest against police treatment of racial minorities.

Critics including Trump object to any protest, regardless of its merits, during a ceremony meant to honor the flag and military veterans.

Some 30 members of the 49ers knelt before a game in Arizona on Sunday, and their general manager and chief executive stood behind them, The Mercury News in the San Francisco Bay area reported.

In Seattle, several members of the Seahawks sat out the national anthem, while their opponents, the Indianapolis Colts, linked arms along the sidelines.

In other games, players on some teams went to one knee before the anthem was played and then rose as a team when the song began. Players on a handful of teams stood with raised fists during parts of the anthem or after it, according to a team-by-team rundown from sports television network ESPN.

At London's Wembley Stadium, where the NFL's first game was played on Sunday, three members of the Miami Dolphins knelt as U.S. singer Darius Rucker performed the U.S. anthem. All of the other uniformed Dolphins and their opponents, the New Orleans Saints, stood along the sidelines, many with their right hands over their hearts.

MORE: Three NFL players kneel for U.S. national anthem at Saints-Dolphins London game

The three players who had knelt stood for the British anthem, "God Save the Queen."

CONTROVERSY GRIPS NFL

'Before last weekend's games, Trump wrote a series of tweets that fueled the debate over whether the players should be able to protest during the anthem.

The controversy quickly enveloped the most popular U.S. sports league, preoccupied the news media and became a hot topic of discussion at bars and offices across the country.

The Saints and some other teams sought a compromise stance, kneeling in unison before the anthem and standing together during the song. The aim was to show respect for both the flag and the position taken by the protesters.

"The decision to kneel ... prior to the anthem and then everyone stand up together, number one, it shows solidarity and unity for us as a team," Saints quarterback Drew Brees said. "Listen, it pays respect to all."

During the past week, Trump kept up a drumbeat of criticism of the protesting players.

"Very important that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and always, for the playing of our National Anthem," he wrote on Twitter on Saturday. "Respect our Flag and our Country!"

On Tuesday, Trump called on the NFL to ban players from kneeling in protest at games during the anthem.

42 PHOTOS
The complete list of protests in major league sports after Trump's comments
See Gallery
The complete list of protests in major league sports after Trump's comments

Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick, pictured here with Eric Reid (#35), began protesting in 2016. Read on to see the players, coaches, team owners and more who have joined the protest. 

 (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars showed solidarity during the first game after Trump's speech urging fans to boycott games where anyone protested during the national anthem. 

According to ESPN the following players took a knee during the national anthem: Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson, Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler.

 Reuters/Paul Childs

Baltimore Ravens

Ravens players also made a statement during the Ravens-Jaguars games. 

According to ESPN the following players protested: Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley, Tim Williams, Tyus Bowser, Za’Darius Smith, Mike Wallace, Carl Davis, Tony Jefferson, Anthony Levine and Lardarius Webb.

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Denver Broncos team take a knee during the national anthem during their game against the Buffalo Bills on September 24, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, NY. (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18: (L-R) Ereck Flowers #74, Robert Thomas #99, Damon Harrison #98 and Dalvin Tomlinson #94 of the New York Giants wait to take the field prior to their game against the Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 10: Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the Philadelphia Eagles raises his fist as he stands during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 10, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (97) and Atlanta Falcons tackle Dontari Poe (92) kneel during the playing of the national anthem prior to the start of the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Detroit Lions on September 24, 2017 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Sep 24, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (44) middle linebacker Tahir Whitehead (59) running back Ameer Abdullah (21) outside linebacker Steve Longa (54) defensive end Jeremiah Ledbetter (98) defensive end Armonty Bryant (97) defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson (91) and defensive end Cornelius Washington (90) kneel during the national anthem before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; The Cleveland Browns team stand and kneel during the National Anthem before the start of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 24: Members of the Indianapolis Colts stand and kneel for the national anthem prior to the start of the game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Cleveland Browns at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 24: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wide Receivers Mike Evans #13, and DeSean Jackson #11, take a knee during the national anthem before the game against the Minnesota Vikings on September 24, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Sep 24, 2017; Foxborough, MA, USA; The Houston Texans stand during the national anthem before a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
FOXBOROUGH, MA - SEPTEMBER 24: New England Patriots players take a knee during the national anthem before the start of a game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., Sept. 24, 2017. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; New Orleans Saints players sit during the national anthem at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 24: Laremy Tunsil #67, Maurice Smith #27 and Julius Thomas #89 kneel with Jarvis Landry #14 of the Miami Dolphins during the National Anthem prior to an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 24, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: Buffalo Bills players kneel during the American National anthem before an NFL game against the Denver Broncos on September 24, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 24: Tight end Lee Smith #86 of the Oakland Raiders stands as other members of the Raiders sit during the playing of the national anthem before the start of their game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 24, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Sep 24, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Niles Paul (84) and linebacker Ryan Anderson (52) and Washington Redskins linebacker Chris Carter (55) kneel with teammates during the playing of the national anthem before the game between the Washington Redskins and the Oakland Raiders at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Alejandro Villanueva #78 of the Pittsburgh Steelers stands by himself in the team's tunnel during the national anthem prior to a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Villanueva, a former Army Ranger who served terms in Afghanistan, was the lone Steeler to appear during the anthem. The Bears won 23-17 in overtime. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 24: The colorguard presents the American Flag as the bench of the Tennessee Titans remains empty during the national anthem prior to a game between the Tennessee Titans and the Seattle Seahawks at Nissan Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24: Members of the Cincinnati Bengals stand with arms locked as a sign of unity during the national anthem prior to their game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 24, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24: The Green Bay Packers stand in solidarity during the national anthem prior to a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field on September 24, 2017 in Green Bay, WI. (Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: The Los Angeles Chargers are seen during national anthem before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at the StubHub Center on September 24, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Justin Houston #50 of the Kansas City Chiefs is seen taking a knee during the National Anthem before the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center on September 24, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland Athletics kneels during the singing of the National Anthem before his MLB American League baseball game against the Seattle Mariners at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California, U.S., September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Jun 12, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game five of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 1, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh yells to his team during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Ravens won the game, 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 31: Head Coach Doug Marrone of the Jacksonville Jaguars during a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. Jaguars defeated the Falcons 13 to 7. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Aug 19, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell during the first quarter against the New York Jets at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 04: Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors speaks at a press conference prior to Game 2 of the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 4, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets players and coaching staff lock arms during the national anthem before the game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Head coach Sean McDermott of the Buffalo Bills looks on before a game against the New York Jets on September 10, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
NFL Football - Jacksonville Jaguars vs Baltimore Ravens - NFL International Series - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - September 24, 2017 Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan links arms with players during the national anthems before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 17: Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie before a week 2 NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs on September 17th, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 23: Detroit Lions owners Martha Ford on the sidelines prior to the start of the game against the Washington Redskins at Ford Field on October 23, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Sep 24, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive back Harrison Smith (22) locks arms with general manager Rick Spielman (left) and owner Mark Wilf (middle) and owner Ziggy Wilf (right) before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 024: Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank joins arms with his players during the playing of the national anthem prior to the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 24, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 24: Jermaine Kearse #10, Josh McCown #15, Christopher Johnson and Jamal Adams #33 of the New York Jets stand in unison with their team during the National Anthem prior to an NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium on September 24, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 24: Miami Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross and Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase locks arms with Miami Dolphins players during the National Anthem prior to the National Football League game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins on September 24, 2017, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Sep 24, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder stands with cornerback Josh Norman (24) and cornerback Bashaud Breeland (26) during the playing of the national anthem before the game between the Washington Redskins and the Oakland Raiders at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
 

The theme may play well with Trump’s conservative base at a time when the Republican president is grappling with North Korea’s nuclear threats, a humanitarian crisis in hurricane-struck Puerto Rico and an investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and a healthcare struggle in Congress.

Outside Wembley Stadium on Sunday, not all British fans supported the players' protests.

“I think everyone has the right to protest, but I think you have to choose your stage wisely," said Laura Williams, who works in healthcare. "I think you risk upsetting more people than it’s worth."

Mark Dodson, an engineer, said, however, the protests were "absolutely a global initiative" and "a sign of solidarity between different races, different backgrounds, different everything basically, which is great to see." 

 

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.